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fabian
fabian asks:
Q:

How can I help my 3 year old twins understand boundries and be successful academically?

I am a single parent trying to generate an interest in learning the recognize the alphabet.  my twin children a little over their 3rd birthday love to be read stories but they are not interested in learning letters to make sounds and recognize letters.  Instead they just want to sing the alphabet.  They are a little bored with the Sesame street ABC videos and are not wanting to handle letters to feel how they shape and make sounds.  How can I help them without using any fancy technology--they just want to press buttons.  They can color but tracing is not yet developed.  Do you think I should just continue free play.  My son only wants to line up his cars and play with them over and over and listen to music and sing.  My daughter just wants to peel the paper of the crayons and she gets frustrated because she does not have the strength to push on the crayon.  She likes markers but she then colors on the walls and over her hands and feet and clothes.  I want them to explore without me there every moment but they seem less interested when I am not around.  They parallel play nicely.  Any advice?  Also, I have about a 3 hour limit to how much reading and playing I can do before I am tired.  With twins, I am finding I am policing 2 kids and playdates are not fun.  They are lot of work. I don't want to whine, but as a single parent, it is just me 24/7.  Anyone out there have any advise.  Or am I expecting too much too soon.  
In Topics: Helping my child with reading, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
May 29, 2009
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What the Expert Says:



It is great to know that you are so committed to helping your children develop academically. From what you have written it certainly sounds like your son and daughter might be right on track developmentally. Engaging in parallel play and identifying individual interests are both very age appropriate tasks.  Please feel free to speak to your pediatrician or a pre school teacher if you would like more confirmation that they are on target.

Rather than promoting the alphabet and letter recognition, I would encourage you to focus on social skill development.  Helping your children to learn how to play nicely side but side and then together will prepare your children to experience greater success in their relationship with one another, with you and with other children and adults they encounter.

I know that you would like to teach them more about the alphabet.  If you would like to prompt more letter recognition with your son, I would encourage him to make the sounds that a car might make.  Have him say “beep”, “toot” or “honk”.  Whatever he chooses to say, you could verbally state the name of the first letter of the word your son is saying but it is really too early for anything more involved.  

Your daughter is expressing herself through her artwork which is actually a precursor to writing.  Encourage her to talk about what she has created.  Have her tell you a story about her picture.  Verbal skills will only encourage her creative side making it much more likely for her to do well academically.     You can also begin to label some of what she has drawn.  

Your son and daughter sound like lovely, talented children.  I would certainly encourage you to let them develop at a rate that allows you to enjoy them every step of the way.  If you begin to feel tired or stressed, there is a very good chance that your children are feeling that way also.  It might be a goal to simply incorporate your academic encouragement as they play.  Do not feel that you need to be doing lessons or making time for “homework” type activities.  

In addition, all of the educational experts agree that the very best thing you can do to prepare your children for academic success is to read, read and read to them.  Take time every day to read books and to allow them to read to you.  It doesn’t matter that they are not recognizing actual letters and numbers.  By spending that time with your children and books you will be laying the groundwork for many, many success academic lessons to come.

Most importantly enjoy your time with your children.  They grow up way too fast.  

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Additional Answers (4)

kat_eden
kat_eden , Parent writes:
Hi Deb - wow, you have a lot on your plate! &nbsp;It's a lot for me just to keep up with my single three year old! &nbsp;(And he has a five year old brother who actually helps a lot). &nbsp;It sounds like your kids are exactly where they should be for their age. &nbsp;The fact that they love being read to is great and I think it's the thing you should stay focused on right now. &nbsp;My older son is in Kindergarten and they're still working on what sounds different letters make (and some kids in his class are even still working on &nbsp;being able to recognize all the letters by sight) so I don't think you can expect that from your threes.<br />
<br />
My three year old was a BIG color on everything guy and I'm thrilled to say he's finally getting past it. &nbsp;What worked for me was telling him how sad it made me when he colored on things in our house (and taking away his art supplies for the afternoon) &nbsp; really giving him lots of praise when he colored on paper. &nbsp;I think he wanted more of the good attention and less of the bad and now he rarely &quot;slips&quot;.<br />
<br />
It sounds like you're doing great things with your kids and they're lucky to have you!<br />
<br />
Kat<br />
> 60 days ago

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davill
davill writes:
Deb,<br />
<br />
I too have twins that are three years old. &nbsp;Although not a single parent (I am so impressed you are hanging in there!) we have had some luck with the letter thing. &nbsp;We started with the Letter Factory videos from Leapfrog, they seem to be very focused on sounds of letters and phonics and are a lot of fun. &nbsp;Once they had mastered those we spend a little time every night reading books and trying to match pictures with the right first letter, again using the sounds.<br />
<br />
You are doing great!<br />
<br />
<br />
> 60 days ago

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BruceDeitrickPrice
BruceDeitri... , Teacher writes:
I think the single most important thing is that you are sitting beside them when you read stories--and POEMS--so they see what you see. You touch the letters. You explain a shape or sound. You show directionality and syllables. So the story is 90% of it, but then you sneak in 10% other stuff.
The second most important thing is not to appear to be teaching. You share your pleasure with them.
Singing the alphabet is great. YouTube has good stuff on this, including many by me.
Also put one about numbers below:

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beem80
beem80 writes:
Hello,

You can try this website www.readingeggs.com.  It is the best reading program.  I know they will love it.  Check it out.

Good luck.
> 60 days ago

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